Hopefully you were able to start your day with a positive statement. No pressure though. All of this is totally voluntary. The last thing I want is any stress connected with taking this. This is not school. There is no homework. You will never be called on for an answer.
If you forgot, no worries. We are creatures of habit and it takes a bit of time to add in a new one. Besides one of the keys to happiness is not being so tough on ourselves. In delivering this program, I will do my best in as stress-free a way as possible because it’s important that I manage my own mindset. There may be a typo or two, a link that may not work (please let me know if this is the case). I’m not going to try to be perfect because if that’s my goal, I will be unhappy with myself on a regular basis. Case in point? I made a Pumpkin smoothie for my trip to my part time job Friday. Sounds yummy, right? Would have been if I had remembered to add in the pumpkin! I thought it was pretty funny…
I know I didn’t start my morning “I love my life” for a bit and still forget sometimes mostly because I’ve added more to my wake-up plan. When the alarm goes off, I look out the window and am grateful for whatever I see and even that I can see. Love a sunny day with green leaves on the trees in my front yard but also love the fall foliage or a rainy day. I may have to stretch a bit to find something I like when the leaves are gone and it’s a dark, cold winter morning but I’ll think of something else to be grateful for – one day closer to spring, maybe?
You see, it all comes down to thoughts, something we’re going to talk about throughout the month. We don’t get to choose what pops into our head. Those thoughts flit in from all sorts of places – some true, some not so much. They’re neither good nor bad. They only have whatever significance we give them.
What we do get to do is:
Decide how long we want to keep the thought
Decide which ones we’re going to expand on
And choose what to think of next
It’s like a GPS. We get to decide how long we stay in one place and then we tell it about our next destination. We can choose a great destination (thinking positive) or a not so great one (negative). Sometimes the choice is difficult because we’re in a rut (Literally and in our minds) so it seems we can’t reprogram our GPS out of it. But we do eventually get out. What matters is how long we stay in, how much of our lives we’re willing to let pass by still in the rut.
So why does it matter? What’s so important to being positive?
The book “The Difference” by Jean Chatzky (often seen on the Today Show) talks about what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. A study was done and here’s what it had to say about the benefits of positivity.
are more creative
are more resilient
have more energy
have better relationships with people
live longer (up to 10 years)
are more effective leaders (People prefer to work for positive people)
have better sales records
have higher self-esteem
All things we want in our lives.
Dr. Lissa Rankin, author of "Mind Over Medicine" says in a PBS special that every positive, optimistic, supportive thought heals our bodies and every negative, pessimistic, angry, resentful, stressed, unhappy thought potentially harms them. Fascinating! I’m not going to let that scare me. I’m just going to use it to remind myself why I want more positive in my life. More on the physical effects of positivity versus negativity tomorrow.
The fact that you’re here means you’re already pretty convinced that positivity is the way to go. So what do we do about it?
How? I’ve seen people put an elastic on their wrist and snap it every time they say/think something negative. Effective but painful. I personally don’t like adding pain as part of making changes so I go the more positive route. If you’ve been to one of my live seminars or in my Strategies for Success classes you know what I’m going to suggest – the Awareness Jar.
Designate a jar, box, or can as your Awareness Jar. Put it somewhere in your home or office and place a penny in it every time you notice yourself going negative. Choose a charity that will benefit from the contents of the jar. Put the name of that charity on the jar. Now think of that penny as the thought leaving your brain and transforming into something wonderful, something that will help someone, a great way of physically turning a negative into a positive. Drop in the penny and let that negative thought go. And then look for a thought that makes you feel a little bit better.
Simple right? But effective. That jar is what created the incredibly positive classroom I had in the Strategies for Success program at school, so positive that adults and students would regularly pop their head in just to breathe the air.
So that’s it for today. Start gently to become aware. Don’t be tough on yourself at all for any thought that pops into your head!
See you tomorrow!
PS…Remember to start your day with a positive statement. Then think, say or write (or all three) at least 3 things that you’re grateful for.
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next lesson.